Customer Self-Service: A Win-Win strategy for Field Service Organizations
Fuelled by major industry disruptors like Amazon, Uber and Netflix, customer expectations have risen sky high in recent years. More than ever, customers are demanding, speed, convenience and control when interacting with service businesses. For field service organizations, meeting customer expectations means a growing focus on improving customer communication through self-service tools. One of the biggest trends in field service solution is the proliferation of self-service solutions to meet these needs, from live chats, to social media based support, online communities and customer portals.
- According to Aberdeen, companies with self-service programs boost customer profit margins by 6.8% a year.
- Gartner predicts that by 2020 a customer will manage 85%of their relationship with a company without interacting with a human.
- A study by CSG on in-home customer service revealed that 97.5% of respondents wanted more control of the scheduling process and prefer alternatives to calling providers for an appointment.
When used effectively, self-service solutions boost customer satisfaction and engagement and provide organizations with the opportunity to improve efficiency and control costs. With a solid self-service strategy in place, everyone wins. Benefits include:
- Customer controlled scheduling – using an online customer self-service portal, customers can simply and easily request the type of service they want, when they want it. Giving customers control of appointment selection reduces the likelihood of last minute cancellations, missed service calls and costly repeat technician visits.
- 24/7 availability – traditional business hours no longer govern customer communications. Customers want to be in contact with service providers at their own convenience with round the clock access to a self-service platform to make requests and report problems at any time, from any device. This kind of access helps customers feel like their problem is in the process of being solved and companies can provide online support with no agent interaction required.
- Notifications and status updates – wasting time waiting for a technician to arrive is a huge source of frustration. Customers want to be able to access regular, real-time updates on the status of their service call including the location of their technician and their estimated time of arrival via their mobile device. Providing this level of visibility and transparency into your operation helps build trust and a sense of security that the customer’s needs are being addressed.
- Helping customers help themselves – providing a self-service tool allows customers to take complete ownership of their service experience. By logging into their account, they’re able to: troubleshoot their own issues, review their service history, view invoices, download manuals, learn about new product upgrades and maintenance tips. Supporting this journey leaves customers feeling empowered to find answers at their own convenience.
- Decreased service costs – with customers free to schedule their own service requests, access their own information and have better visibility of their technician arrival time, the time spent by the customer service department responding to routine enquiries is significantly reduced, thereby cutting headcount and related administrative costs.
- Improved workforce utilization – a self-service portal can also help improve your business’s resource allocation. When customers request service or schedule an appointment, they complete all the details online, including the necessary skills and equipment for the job. This information can be used to determine the best technician for the job and automatically schedule the best route.
- Increased revenue – if customers are demanding self-service via web or mobile, then it makes sense that by offering this, companies are improving their customers’ experience and, as a result, driving superior revenue growth. Self-service also provides greater opportunities for cross and up selling opportunities via targeted offers on a web portal for example.
Meeting customer expectations and staying ahead of the competition is a constant challenge. When field service technology is deployed with self-service tools that help customers to help themselves, the benefits extend to everyone.
Contact us today to find out how we can help you drive revenue from your field service solution.